The Russian state Khrunichev space center is going to conduct 15 launches of Proton rockets in 2002, the center's deputy general director, Denis Pivnyuk, reported in an interview with RBC. Earlier they were going to conduct 12 launches this year but received two more commercial orders and one additional launch would be conducted for the Russian Defense Ministry and the Aerospace Agency. It is worth mentioning that a Proton rocket can put into orbit a object weighing up to 6 tons. In addition, the Khrunichev space center will conduct three launches of Rokot rockets in the first half of 2002. Testing of this new rocket was completed in 2001 and the first launch is scheduled for February 27, 2002.
There are several versions of the recent assassination of the most prominent Iranian nuclear scientist and high-ranking officer of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh